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Dry vs Wet food: Do you agree with the Vet?

34 replies

lollydollydrop · 05/06/2013 12:15

Hi kitty lovers,

I would like to get some opinions on cat food/diet..

We have just come home from taking our 14 month Maine Coon to the vets as we were worried she might be deficient in Taurine as the wet food we give doesnt contain it (Applaws).

However, it turns out that not only does the Vet think she will be fine because of her dry food Royal Canin which is a complete food with Taurine, but actually that dry food is best for cats and that wet food isnt really neccessary. You can feed wet in addition if you like, but she really didnt seem that fussed about it. She has been a vet for 20 years and fed her cats aged 13 years a diet of Only dry food. She said that billions of pounds were spent on the industry, and that the main reason why pets are living much longer is down to their diet rather than vaccinations etc. The dry has everything you need.

She positively was horrified at the mention of a raw food diet we had found- completely not needed in her opinion and the product of a few groups/forums which very strong opinions who try to persuade others of their view.

However, my OH disagrees as his reasoning is 'Could you imagine if all we could eat was dry?' I understand him in one regard, I believe the preference to feed wet is probably psychological- we wouldn't feed our human babies only dry food. But I dont want him to just dismiss a vet's opinion just because it might go against what you like to believe.

But what is your opinion on this and have you had vet's advise you of similar/different? What do you feed your cat/s, as my partner and I are having mixed views/a debate on the subject! He's just spent about £150 on wet cat food imported from somewhereConfused

OP posts:
cozietoesie · 05/06/2013 12:44

Yes - billions of pounds are spent. As they are on human food. And vets are people like us all - some are good, some are ..... 'narrow sighted', some are 'long seeing and open minded'.

Seniorboy (18+ and still going for it) has been fed on various diets but mainly wet food. His teeth (only a few left) pretty well dictate what he eats these days but I give him what he fancies - within reason.

My vet, highly experienced though she is, has never disputed my feeding views. (Not sure the subject has ever arisen as such.)

Mabelface · 05/06/2013 12:46

Mine now get a mix. My vet friend recommends not a completely dry food diet.

haggisaggis · 05/06/2013 12:50

My Maine Coon is on dried - but has wet food too. Our vet advocates wet food for cats as he reckons male cats in particular are prone to kidney problems and dry foods can acerbate this...however he also said that a Maine Coon was a specialised breed and as at that time the breeder recommended dry food then that's what he should have. (breeder now changed to raw....) So basically I would say do your own research and feed what you are happy with as does not appear to be any clear answer. (my old cat lived to 21 on a dry food only diet - I feed wet food now to my moggy and dry with some wet to the Maine Coon..)

Kormachameleon · 05/06/2013 12:51

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

superbagpuss · 05/06/2013 12:52

is your cat make or female?

we were recommended a wet food diet with male as they don't drink enough and can have urine tract issues

we feed a mix of wet and dry food, average quality and they have a flap so they can get outside - they have access to water all the time

ours are moggies and seem perfectly happy with this set up

CMOTDibbler · 05/06/2013 12:54

When I first became a cat owner I wanted to feed dry food only. But my first cat, and my subsequent ones have all refused to comply with this and demand wet food, regarding dry food as only a snack. Raw food is supplied by them

ClaraOswald · 05/06/2013 12:56

My two are on a dry complete food. The vet is very happy with them, especially their teeth. Once every couple of weeks they will have a small tin or pouch, and they have access to fresh water all day.

stinkyfluffycat · 05/06/2013 13:04

Our cat had a blocked bladder and the vet said it could be because we'd switched to a dry food only diet for him (having fallen for the 'it's healthier' Iams advertising) because when there is not enough water going through them the urine gets too concentrated and forms crystals, which can block the bladder. Blocked bladder can then lead to kidney failure & death if not treated quickly enough.

Also, I've seen someone on here who was either a vet or a vet nurse saying the same thing, and that all the cats that came in to her with blocked bladders had been fed Iams or Go Cat dry.

Not sure if that all goes for girl cats too though, think boys more prone to bladder problems.

stinkyfluffycat · 05/06/2013 13:06

'Access to water' - yes, my cat always had access to water, he was just too daft to realise that he needed to drink, so just because you provide the water doesn't always mean the sodding cat is getting enough...

lollydollydrop · 05/06/2013 13:14

Our cat is a female, and she drinks loads as MC's are somewhat obsessed with water and she has both a fresh water fountain and jug. Sometimes she doesnt eat the wet I put down for her (every morning) but she expects that she will get wet for breakfast and would probably hang around till there was some put down rather than starting on the dry first (even if she didnt eat the wet).

She probably eats 80% dry 20% wet.

The vet wasnt trying to sell a particular brand no, didnt notice any food for sale there either. What she did say as extra bonuses for dry is that they are formulate to tackle specific problems like hairballs(!) and urinary track infections, something about making/stopping the urine from forming crystals or something like that.

I know that the Royal Canin dry is very good for MC's and help guard against heart disease etc.

Its really difficult as everyone has a different opinion...

OP posts:
isitsnowingyet · 05/06/2013 13:21

Our 16 year old cat has only dried food and seems very healthy and has all her teeth. She drinks lots of water, but has done for a long time.

patchesmcp · 05/06/2013 13:25

Dried food here for my 2 cats. They won't eat anything else. I've tried them on fancy pouches and foil tins but they just turn their noses up.

They've just had their injections and they are in good health, if not a little chubby. The vet did say the dried food is great for their teeth but it is calorie rich which is the downside for my two as they are house cats and extremely a touch lazy.

flowerpippin · 05/06/2013 13:31

The Blue Cross was feeding our 7 year old rescue cat dry when we got him but he gradually went off it and wasn't eating anything.

He now eats mainly wet with a bit of dry. I give him lots of variety and whatever makes him happy really. He doesn't have a lot of teeth so I think he prefers the wet!

I wouldn't worry about it too much. I don't see many malnourished cats in the UK!

LurcioLovesFrankie · 05/06/2013 13:49

Mine (male, so more prone to urinary problems) gets a mix of wet and dry on the vet's advice after a succession of idiopathic urinary tract infections - wet food can often sort this out, and dry food can exacerbate it.

starfish4 · 05/06/2013 14:12

My girl was constantly getting cystitis about three years ago and within hours of it starting she was passing clots of blood. My vet told me she would rather see any cat (with our without urinary problems) on a wet diet. She has special powder to sprinkle in her food every day which I'm sure helps, but it was only when I got her onto wet food all the time that the problem stopped. I did a bit of research and found that even if a cat who drinks a lot of water while on dry food, they still only take in half the amount of liquid. In nature, they would be on a wet diet so it sort of makes sense to give them mainly wet food. Most companies will tell me the amount of taurine in their product if you want to feed wet with a higher level.

lljkk · 05/06/2013 14:31

I don't think my vet has any strong opinion about diet. Do vet students spend quite much time studying nutrition beyond the very basics? So much else they have to learn that owners can't do for their animals.

I seem to recall RoyalCanin has grains in it, which put me off.

I suspect the problem with wet foods & teeth is if they are high carbs (bulked up in grains), then cats get decay like people get tooth decay on high carb diets, especially if the food is sticky (like wet foods are). Wet food low in carbs might negate the risk.

Aside, but neighbour's dog has developed quite bad gluten intolerance, which I suspect is due to cheap dog food.

2 weeks ago I bought £210 of cat food (5+ month supply for 3 cats?), so obviously am quite mad, anyway. Grin
Lonecatwithkitten · 05/06/2013 17:28

As a vet I feed my cats both wet and dried. Why do I do this?
Well wet food is not great for teeth as it just hangs around the teeth encouraging tartar and decay. Dry food does not hang around the teeth it alone is not good for teeth just less bad than wet food.
Good quality dry food is not implicated with urinary tract problems, there is a feeling that 'Hurry Feline' (if you get my drift) dry cat food is the most common food found to be fed to male cats who get urethral obstruction and an about to be published final year vet nurses dissertation would support this.
I feed a mix partly for historical reasons my dear old beautiful girl cat (RIP) was a vomity so and so and on purely dry food I saw it again way to often, but I still wanted nice clean teeth. I also wanted to entice my cats in of an evening for safety reasons.
So they get Hills Vet essentials young adult half ration in the morning (the least vomity dry food for the beautiful girl) and a pouch of waitrose essentials wet food in the evening.
Now I have a dog who abuses hedgehogs in the garden at night so needs the lure of a gravy bone to get him in the two current felines have three dreamies each when he comes in as they sit waiting for their treat too.
There are risks with raw feeding and cats the biggest being if you fed some raw lamb there is a risk of toxoplasmosis transmission which can cause long term seizures in cats. Though this risk also exists if your cat hunts.
I would like to clear up the myth regarding vets and pet food sales we make the same amount of money on pet food sales as any pet shop does there is no special deal for us - actually often our deals are less good than the big pet shop chains. Often actually if you look at stock turnover etc. we make less profit than pet shops do as we tend to sell less and hold the stock for longer.

cozietoesie · 05/06/2013 18:50

Well my practice have always treated me honourably, lone, so I'll go with that.

On the toxoplasmosis - does the nature of the prey matter as far as you know?

Fluffycloudland77 · 05/06/2013 19:01

The main objection to a dry food diet is that in the wild a cat would eat all raw, wouldn't it?.

Dry food contains maize, even expensive ones have maize in it. I have never understood why it's ok to give an obligate carnivore cereals but abhorrent to give a vegetarian animal meat products.

I like applaws biscuits, they are 80% meat with potato as a filler so gluten free.

Lonecatwithkitten · 05/06/2013 19:36

Vermin are the most likely prey to transmit toxo.
I understand about maize, but to a certain level cost comes into it. Applies biscuits were highly vomity in my houseConfused.

Fluffycloudland77 · 05/06/2013 19:45

Purina one biscuits do an encore here.

Lovethesea · 05/06/2013 21:07

I give mine both though Huntercat disdains anything not wet and supplements his own diet with rabbits, mice, birds, frogs etc. Tortiecat has gone off the dry despite trying different brands so now also eats wet food.

As far as I understand, wet bad for teeth good for kidneys. Dry good for teeth bad for kidneys (a little more nuanced above).

So the dry food that is out seems to be eaten only by the slugs whose trails show their visits. How they get in is a mystery.


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deliasmithy · 06/06/2013 02:59

When I got my pedigree I was told 'raw'/dry/posh tinned by the breeder. I then did hours of research on the internet which led me to conclude that you can argue both sides of the toss.

My view was that my working hours impacted at the time on my ability to give 4/5 meals a day to a kitten, tinned food stinks, and im not keeping a collection of offal in the freezer.

I then opted for medium range dry food. The pedigree turned her nose up. On the 4th day she cracked and chomped her way through a bowl full. She got a urinary tract infection some time ago. Vet advocated investing in the best dry food we could afford. That's when I discovered bulk buying 20kg of royal canin. No further illnesses since. I leave 2 washing up bowls of water and change their food once or twice a day. God knows how much I feed them. They eat when they want. They are perfect weights. They get dreamies and the odd chip or popcorn that they steal when my back is turned.

My new tom kitten is on stinky whiskas and go cat. He immediately started stealing royal canin off the others but still likes his evening sachet. He'll be waving goodbye to his wet food tomorrow.

When I had 2 cats, my monthly budget for them was £70 to include all food, litter, insurance and vets visits and the odd cattery visit. Now I have 3, I might need to increase that.

nooka · 06/06/2013 03:20

Our current cats are on dry food only (plus mice and sadly birds when they can get them). Previously we used both wet and dry, but our last pair of cats were quite slow eaters and after encountering maggots a few times I switched to dry. I swop between expensive tartar control stuff and whatever is on special offer and they seem to do just fine. One of them will supplement with the dogs food, especially when he was on souper douper supplemented kibble (with green muscle extract - yummy!)

garlicgrump · 06/06/2013 03:37

My vet recommended dry food, and it's all my cat gets apart from bits of ham & chicken, etc. My mother's cat died of heart failure caused by malnutrition and septicaemia. His teeth had rotted due to being fed on wet food. (She'd taken him over from a deceased friend, it wasn't her fault!)

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